WWE.com published a rare interview with company head Vince McMahon that WWE Magazine conducted in 2007 in celebration of 15h anniversary of Raw. The WWE Chairman discusses the longevity of Raw, competing with WCW, future of the sports entertainment industry and who he feels is the most important Superstar in the evolution of the program—it’s a Rattlesnake.
Who came up with the name Raw: “I did. The name ‘Raw’ came out of my head. I was trying to come up with a word that would embody everything we wanted the program to be. It had to be gritty. It had to be cutting edge. It had to be confrontational. Raw fit perfectly.
If RAW helped drive WCW out of business: “I don’t think we drove WCW out of business. That was certainly never our intent. That was the mindset of Ted Turner and WCW, but not WWE. See, if you spend all of your energy trying to kill the other guy, your product suffers. If you don’t kill the other guy, then he’s going to come back at you, and when he comes back, you won’t have done anything to make your house better. It’s no different than being in a fight and knowing that, if the other guy keeps on hitting you, that son of a b—h is going to wear himself out pretty fast.”
His memories of the first RAW on January 11, 1993: “I wanted to go back to our roots. I wanted the first broadcast to have a small, intimate, raucous crowd, and I was certainly not disappointed in the feel of the Manhattan Center. As soon as we went on the air, even before we went on the air, we knew we were on to something special.”
The most important Superstar for the show: “There’s no question that guys like Triple H, The Rock, Shawn Michaels, and The Undertaker have all made enormous contributions to this company, but if there was one single personality that exemplified Raw in the truest sense of what I wanted it to be, it would be ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin.”
If Austin was the greatest contributor to the Attitude Era: “Make no mistake, the Attitude Era started long before “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Bret Hart was the first one to push Mr. McMahon on his ass. When the audience responded to that incident so positively, I knew we had something. The great thing about what we do is that we have a focus group every night—our fans. You think you’re giving them what they want, but then they shift on you. Raw has changed. Raw has continued to be flexible in order to keep true to what WWE fans want to see. That’s why Raw has produced more hours than any other television show in history.”
The goal looking toward the 2,000th episode of RAW: “The goal will be to remain flexible, and to adapt, so that WWE can give the audience what they want. Twenty years from now, who knows what that will end up being?”
The full interview is available here.